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Trainers Recap Successful 2015; Look Ahead to 2016



By Jeffrey Howard

The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) held their annual membership meeting on Friday December 4, 2015.  The WHTA will wrap up the year with the annual Horse of the Year Banquet on Saturday night.

In 2016 the WHTA will put on both the National Trainers’ Show in Shelbyville, Tenn.  and Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show in Panama City Beach, Fl.  A change in 2016 will be how the judges are selected for each show.  At the earlier board meeting the board of directors voted and the highest vote count for each show was selected.  The board voted for Dean Byard at the National Trainers’ Show and Link Webb for the Gulf Coast Charity Show.

The second judge for each show was voted on by the membership at the meeting.  Garnering the most votes for the Trainers’ Show was Jamie Hankins and Scott Beaty won the vote for the Gulf Coast Charity.  The third judge for each show will be selected by a vote of everyone with a ticket at the Horse of the Year banquet on Saturday night at Bell Buckle Banquet Hall.

Both Sarah Smith from the Trainers’ Auxiliary and Julie Lambert from the Christmas In July show were on hand to discuss and get ideas from the trainers on the potential consolidation of their two shows over the 4th of July weekend.  The goal of Smith’s presentation was to shorten the two shows that regularly end after midnight on the popular weekend in Middle Tennessee. 

Winky Groover recommended having a steward in the warmup ring and getting the horses in the ring quicker to eliminate time and that if they would close the gate on a couple people that it would get better.  Herbert Derickson recommended taking the most popular classes and having them at both shows and the less popular classes at just one of the two shows.

Smith took the recommendations and encouraged the trainers to continue to come forward if they had ideas.  “We are trying to do this to help as we have gotten so many comments about the length of our shows.  We want your input,” said Smith.  Smith did reiterate nothing had been decided as of yet.

During his membership committee report Link Webb reported that the WHTA has 347 total members, up approximately 60 from last year.  Wayne Dean reported the association was in the best financial condition of the last several years having almost $150,000 in the bank between the operating and horse show accounts.  This is an approximate $100,000 positive change from last year.

During the annual December meeting each year officers are elected.  Bill Young will remain as President, Bill Cantrell as 1st Vice President and Jamie Hankins as 2nd Vice President.  New board members elected were Wayne Dean, Herbert Derickson, Brandye Mills and Scott Beaty.

The WHTA also announced in 2016 they will elect two Trainers of the Year, one in the performance division and one in the pleasure division.  For the first time in several years, the WHTA also had a new directory for 2016.
 

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